Wendy Williams Pays Tribute to Kobe Bryant Through Tears: 'I Almost Didn't Do the Show Today'

Wendy Williams tearfully paid tribute to Kobe Bryant following his death in a California helicopter crash during Monday's episode of The Wendy Williams Show. Joined by guest and former NBA player Charles Oakley, the daytime talk show host opened the show with an emotional segment mourning the NBA legend and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, as well as the seven other victims of the Sunday crash.

"To do a show like this, it's very very hard on days like this," Williams, who was visibly upset, began, according to Hollywood Life. "What I really dug about Kobe…I don't know if I even saw him play a game, but I just knew, 20 years in the game, he's a living legend."

The Ask Wendy author grew even more emotional as she went on to discuss Bryant’s lasting legacy.

"He really stood for putting his money into homelessness and also for girls and women playing basketball, which is a big deal," she said. "He rose to the occasion of being a good husband and a good father."

Williams went on to reveal that she was so devastated by Bryant's passing that she had considered cancelling Monday's show.

"I'm like, 'Okay, I want to take off tomorrow, I can't even deal with this,'" she said. "But I have to do the show because somehow this stupid show does make people come out of their own sadness, at least for an hour."

Williams instead decided that they had to "reconfigure the show," revealing that they chose to cancel a Grammys style recap as well as a DJ's appearance.

The talk show host went on to reveal that she had learned of Bryant's Sunday death while on the phone with her parents planning a family vacation to Martha's Vineyard.

"That's the teachable lesson," she said, tears visibly running down her cheeks. "Live each day like it's your last, not in a bad way. Hug the people you love. Sometimes, you got to let bygones be bygones."

Wendy concluded the segment by praising Bryant's strong worth ethic.

"That Mamba Mentality and that go, go go, that driving force and constantly trying to be the best version of yourself — that's what he represented from what I can gather," she said.


Williams revisited Bryant's death in a later segment of the show and was joined onstage by Oakley, who called the late basketball play "an icon."

Along with Bryant and Gianna, the seven other victims of the crash have been named as John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester, 13, Christina Mauser, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.